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Opinions of Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Columnist: Ato Kwamena Dadzie/Daily Dispatch

THE OUTSIDER: Dr. Rich returns... but for how long?

Dr. Richard Anane might forever look back with regret on the day he had unprotected sex with Alexandria O’Brien. If only he had worn a condom, the white chick wouldn’t have gotten pregnant and he might not have had to make all those money transfers to her. It is the money transfers that culminated in those allegations of corruption and conflict of interest against him. That day of extra marital indiscretion marked the start of Dr. Anane’s public humiliation and all his legal troubles. Fortunately for him, he sailed through the storms and he’s back on top.

Having gotten his job back as Road Transport Minister, Dr. Anane has every opportunity to put the repair the damage he did to himself. He should thank God that his boss is a man of second chances. I welcome him back and I pray that he will not screw up this second chance he’s so graciously received. Dr. Anane is not exactly my hero but his troubles have taught me a few vital lessons.

Thanks to Dr. Anane, I have decided that I’m really going to think long and hard before I decide to let my libidinal forces invade territories that I’m not entitled to. I’m not saying I will never launch any such invasion. I can’t promise that. Who knows whether I’d be working with some irresistible Chinese research assistants in the future? What I can promise, though, is that if I do decide to let my forces go, I will makes sure that they wear the required body armour. Get my drift?

This is a lesson from the Anane episode that should be taken seriously by all men who do not wish to be caught pants down. You should also make sure that the territory you unleash your forces on is truly worth the trouble of an invasion. I think Dr. Anane didn’t think about whether Miss O’Brien was worth the trouble. Otherwise, at least, he would have sheathed his sword.

I know that sometimes, the soul is willing but the body is weak. So there will be times when you would actually launch a grand invasion without the requisite body armour. When this sort of invasion results in some unintended consequences – like an illegitimate child – it helps to let the world know that when you launched the attack you meant well and that even when things look so bad, humanity stands to benefit from your gesture.

When he was summoned before a parliamentary committee to explain certain cash transfers to his mistress and child, Dr. Anane said his relationship with Miss O’Brien benefitted the nation in diverse ways. I suppose this should explain why no one has filed a formal complaint against Dr. Anane, making it possible for him to deliver a technical knockout to Anna Bossman and her clique from CHRAJ who were determined to bring him down. Most Ghanaians realise that thanks to him, we have one more of that rare breed of half-caste Ghanaian Americans. Little half-caste Anane might be the one to take our country to the Promised Land. Who knows? So why persecute the man who planted the golden seed for that child to be born?

This Dr. Anane episode has also taught me that it pays to be loyal to your master. Dr. Anane’s loyalty to President Kufuor is unquestioned. His work at the Transport Ministry has been very pleasing to the president’s eyes. And you know, being transport minister is not just about building roads. It’s also about ‘managing’ budgets and making sure that monies get to exactly where they are supposed to be. “Give what is Caesars to Caesar....”

All of this Dr. Anane seems to have done with great zeal, enterprise and loyalty. So the president really likes him. That’s why when Dr. Anane quit to do legal battle with CHRAJ, the president didn’t replace him. That is the loyalty dividend – you get a cloak of indispensability and the big guy always watches your back. So even though he has not exactly cleared his name, Dr. Anane has his job back and he’s going to do it as well as he can and to the delight of the president.

As he returns to post, Dr. Anane has strong backing from one of the most vociferous opponents of government – Alban Bagbin, the leader of the NDC minority in parliament. Even with his party shouting their dislike for Dr. Anane and criticising the president for reappointing him, Mr. Bagbin was bold enough to stand up in parliament to declare that he will defend the doctor anywhere. Wow! Birds of the same feather flock together indeed. Mr. Bagbin has admitted that he slept with his sister-in-law and he must know how Dr. Anane feels with so many people questioning his morality. And it’s really gladdens my heart that Mr. Bagbin will step out of the party line and declare support for his opponent. This is great cause for hope.

I never thought that I would live to see the day when our MPs will think for themselves and stop towing the party line like zombie donkeys. If only more MPs will do as Mr. Bagbin has done, especially when passing legislation and not just when their morality is questioned, our country will be a better place. Thanks to Mr. Bagbin, I’m hopeful that I will live to see the day when opposition MPs will vote in support of a government motion and governing party MPs will vote against a motion from the executive.

Finally, Dr. Anane has taught me that it pays to fight back even when all the odds are stack against you. He was a man on his way down but he put up a brave fight and won. CHRAJ won a couple of battles but Anane won the war. And he’s rejoicing and singing all the way to his next meeting with road contractors. Sadly for him, though, his joy might be short-lived because I am reliably informed that someone is planning to lodge a formal complaint at CHRAJ. He might not necessarily step down again to go and fend off the charges because he will be fighting with Alban Bagbin in his corner. That in itself is a major victory.